The shopping mall annexed to Concorde Hotel may appear depressingly aged, but like its neighbours Cuppage and Orchard Plaza, it's choc-a-bloc with Japanese restaurants catered to the Japanese expat community. We were walking around the area looking for a dinner place after class one weeknight, and stumbled upon Yakiniku Ao-Chan. We'd seen a bunch of Japanese salarymen walking out, and took that as a positive sign of authenticity.
While it can't quite beat our favourite Yakiniku Yazawa for Japanese table barbecue, it is notably more wallet-friendly. And in this regard, I've found that when it comes to Japanese food, there's (usually) a direct correlation between the quality and cost. It's not to say that it's a rule set in stone, because there are exceptions, but it is my experience that the more expensive a Japanese restaurant, the higher the likelihood of superior fare. Yakiniku AoChan costs about the same as Gyu-Kaku and Aburiya, a smidge less pricey than Ito-Kacho, and a lot less expensive than Yakiniku Yazawa. Not unexpectedly, the difference in price points of each restaurant was a true and accurate gauge corresponding to each of the restaurants' standards.
There are a couple of meat platters and we ordered both, starting with the Assorted Beef ($29.80), a trio of belly tender prime, rose prime, and fillet. These were well-marbled and robust, lightly seasoned with tare marinade.
We preferred the platter of Assorted Iberian Pork ($23) with cuts of secreto, tontoro, and tontoro karubi. These were decadently fatty, and delicate.
The Chicken ($9.80) was silky and succulent.
Mix it up with the Shitake Mushroom ($6) earthy and juicy.
I'm a big big fan of Edamame ($5) and these steamed ones were plump and well-salted.
A must-try, was the Spicy Beef Porridge ($7), the Japanese version of Teochew porridge. This was heady, and chock-full of luscious beef slices, spinach, carrots, beansprouts and burdock root.
The lighter version, was a child-friendly Vegetable Porridge ($5), laden with carrots, green peppers and egg drop a-plenty. I loved this.
100 Orchard Road
Concorde Hotel #02-22
Tel: 6735 6457
Open weekdays from 12noon to 2.30pm for lunch; 6pm to 11pm for dinner;
weekends from 3pm to 10.30pm